Call it an escape, a getaway, or whatever you will — there’s no denying that from time to time we all feel the impulse to flee for higher ground. Now’s the perfect time, too, as the finest must-ski hotels typically sell out months in advance. From coast to coast, here’s a sampling of Tablet’s best hotels for acquiring a bit of elevation.
Lake Placid, New York — This one lives up to the legend (not the horror film, thankfully) on its namesake’s sleepy western shore, steeped in the vintage Adirondack charm that once appealed to many a Carnegie or Morgan. Rustic pine, crackling flames from a stone fireplace, and no less than six million acres of woods to explore; go nuts.
Stowe, Vermont — Vermont’s Green Mountains are a solid contender for the best skiing in the Northeast. Between the town of Stowe and Mount Mansfield, Topnotch Resort flexes its haute-luxury muscles, a welcome excuse to ditch the slopes after a long day’s carve. Think European country-home elegance, extensive spa facilities, and poolside dining.
Aspen, Colorado — Upscale in every sense, that’s Aspen, and it’s perhaps done best at the Little Nell, an institution up there with the Silver Queen Gondola. Get your Gary Cooper on over an après-ski spiked hot chocolate and savor the rarefied atmosphere at the very top.
Vail, Colorado — Aspen has more mountains to pick from, sure, but the athletes know that the real challenge awaits nearby on Vail’s slopes (don’t mind us, just stoking the rivalry). In any case, the Sebastian differentiates itself enough to merit the visit: convivial, sophisticated, cool but not chilly. You can’t beat the mountain view from the pool, either.
Darby, Montana — Don’t be thrown by the label: Montana’s Bitterroot Mountains offer a sweetly gratifying plunge into some of the continent’s finest unspoiled natural grandeur. Triple Creek Ranch exemplifies the private-cabin experience you’re after without skimping on luxury. Rough it all you want, knowing that fresh-baked cookies, a stocked wet bar, and a hot tub await your return.
Whistler, British Columbia — If you’ve ever seen the way the Coast Mountains drop straight into the sea, you’ll agree there’s some poetry to their prosaic name. Anyway, the Adara Hotel’s concept is easy enough to grasp: take twin peaks Whistler and Blackcomb, season liberally with Vancouver urban chic, throw in some Verner Panton chairs, and let the flavors mingle.
Mont-Tremblant, Québec — Meanwhile, across the country in Québec’s Laurentians, Hotel Quintessence distills Swiss Alpine hospitality down to an intimate, potent, ultra-luxe formula. There’s room to stretch here, and the storybook façade certainly doesn’t hurt. Ever been dogsledding?
Baie-Saint-Paul, Québec — Here’s an interesting character, more mountain-adjacent than strictly mountainous: situated on the banks of the Saint Lawrence estuary, it’s a working farm with its own train station for direct access from Quebec City. Le Massif ski area looms invitingly in the background; luckily, another train can get you there quite easily.